London Theatre Review: Be More Chill
| By Jade Ali
Be More Chill is popularly known for its cult following due to its soundtrack which without its masses of streams, may have let this thrilling musical be swept under a rug. Well, thank god for the streaming era because this musical is refreshingly fun with an abundance of energy. It’s certainly going to still attract that same cult following, particularly from a young adult audience, following the likes of Heathers the Musical and Eugenius which also both played at London’s The Other Palace.
The production starts with Jeremy played by Scott Folan who is the perfect charismatic lead that the story of Be More Chill requires. Under the surface of squips and all its quirkiness, is a story not unlike any other; a geeky teenage boy who wants to be accepted, who wants to be cool and, of course, who wants to get the girl. Jeremy is transported from his bedroom and on to school with minimal set changes. The use of an animated screen and lighting is all it takes, with minimal props; a perfect marriage from set designer Beowulf Borritt and lighting designer Tyler Micoleau. At the school, we are introduced to the rest of the cast who all play their staple roles and various ensemble. This is a cast that oozes with talent and makes it a struggle to single out any one performer.
The popular song, ‘I love play rehearsal’, beloved by fans, is performed by Miracle Chance who plays Christine - Jeremy’s love interest. Christine is as the squip later describes her, “unusual”, because she doesn’t care what others think of her and this reflects in her quirky, free-spiritedness. Christine is no doubt a brilliant character to sink your teeth in to and flex your acting capabilities which Chance certainly does. She’s the first to steal the spotlight in the way she commands a stage and the full house audience at the Other Palace. As the story goes on from your standard teen story to its unique plot point, the squip (a Japanese pill that downloads a supercomputer into your brain which tells you everything you should do in order to obtain your dream), we are introduced to Stewart Clarke (Jeremy’s Squip) who appears as Keanu Reeves to Jeremy. Clarke gives a phenomenal performance from the get-go and showcases a talent that notches this production up in stars.
The plot is both interesting and gripping, an “upgrade” from its Broadway original which you will notice from the slight changes to the songs alone (giving many who see this production won’t have seen it on Broadway). It isn’t profound on the surface, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s relatable, fun and unique. It offers something new to the young adult market and is equally entertaining for all ages.
The rest of the cast have various solos in which they can shine but as the show goes on and the more you see of them, the more you want. We get brief snippets of the amazing vocals from Eloise Davies and we want more! We get a soft spot for the character Michael, Jeremy’s best friend, played by Blake Patrick Anderson, who is charismatic and boasts beautiful velvety tones. He’s instantly loveable and the perfect best friend archetype. The whole cast is strikingly talented; notably, Millie O’Connell and Renee Lamb are superb, who both stand out for their unforgettable stage presence. No review would be complete without a shoutout to the vocal range that saw Lamb belting some ‘take the roof off’ style notes.
If Be More Chill was something you considered yourself a fan of already, then there’s no doubt that this production will increase your love. If you’re a little unaware of this Broadway cult phenomenon, then c-c-c’mon and book your London Be More Chill tickets for a two-hour escape from reality that will serve you plenty of laughs, and a whole load of fun! This musical is utterly heart-warming and the perfect feel-good show for those looking for something different. It’s like the love child of Heathers the Musical and Little Shop of Horrors whilst simultaneously being completely different from both. Get your tickets whilst you can - Be More Chill is going to be a sellout!
Be More Chill tickets are currently booking at the off-West End venue The Other Palace until 3 May 2020. Don’t miss out before the demand soars following the rest of the rave reviews that are to come.